I was reading an explanation on Grammarly, and they stated a particular phrase is actually a clause: "Because of the rain, the party was canceled."

Here is a glaring example of a sentence fragment:

Because of the rain.

On its own, because of the rain doesn’t form a complete thought. It leaves us wondering what happened because of the rain. To complete it, we need further explanation:

Because of the rain, the party was canceled.

Now the fragment has become a dependent clause attached to a sentence that has a subject (the party) and a verb (was canceled). Our thought is complete. [bolding added]

"Because of the rain" is a phrase. If it was by itself, it would be a sentence fragment. What I don't understand is how "because of the rain" is a clause? Doesn't a clause require both a subject AND verb. This phrase only has a subject.

Moreover, in this sentence, is it a simple sentence, or a complex sentence?

Here is the link to the article: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/mistake-of-the-month-sentence-fragments/

Hopefully my questions makes sense. <3

  • For those who use the term, a complex sentence needs two clauses, a main clause and a subordinate clause connected to each other with a subordinating conjunction. Since 'because of the rain' is a phrase as you say (specifically a prepositional phrase), this condition isn't fulfilled. // 'Because the rain was so heavy, the party was canceled.' does qualify. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 23:31
  • Which just goes to show how useless a term like "complex sentence" is. The two sentences are practically identical (they'd mean the same thing if the second version began with "Because it was raining"), yet we call the second one complex because it has another verb. @EdwinAshworth
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 0:01
  • @Barmar can you please refrain from adding unneccesary comments? I mean this in a respectful way. I'm trying to get answers, and you are not assisting me in finding those answers. Thank you.
    – Mira
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 0:06
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth to add on: What if we rewrote the sentence? "The party was canceled because of the rain." Does this make this sentence a simple sentence? There is only one subject and one predicate? Therefore, is "because of the rain" an introductory phrase when it is written first and then a comma added, such as the first example sentence "Because of the rain, the party was canceled." I don't think it's a clause; I think it's an introductory phrase, hence why I am wondering now if it's simply a simple sentence and no longer a complex sentence. Am I overcomplicating this? xD
    – Mira
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 0:30
  • 1
    @BillJ — As you know (and as OP may want to know), in grammars other than CGEL’s, because the rain was so heavy is a dependent/subordinate clause and because is a subordinating conjunction there. Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


Because of the rain is a prepositional phrase with because of acting as the preposition:

Because of is a two-word preposition meaning ‘as a result of’
Because of the rain, the tennis match was stopped.
There were so many people in the shop because of the sale.
Source: Cambridge Dictionary

You can compare it to, say:

After the fight, the party was canceled.

You have a simple—one-clause—sentence.

  • You're the best. Thank you!!!! <3
    – Mira
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 3:06

That Grammarly article is just wrong, and pretty blatantly so. I suspect they confused this usage of because with that found in (say) "Because it was raining, the party was cancelled" where because is indeed introducing a subordinate clause.

The author of that post, going by what appears to be her bio, is a "writer and editor," likely not someone who has any particular expertise or advanced training in grammar.

  • Yes! I'm glad I wasn't going crazy! Now I just need to figure out if this sentence is a simple sentence or a complex sentence. Thanks for the help! Looking forward to other answers if anyone can help me figure out that second part! <3
    – Mira
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 22:11
  • Of course, you don't need "expertise or advanced training in grammar" to write and edit well. Only English teachers and linguists care about labeling things like clauses and phrases.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 22:32
  • And AI programmers writing natual language parsers.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 22:34
  • @Mira It's a simple sentence, by most definitions of that term, since it doesn't have any dependent clauses. "Because of the rain" is just a prepositional phrase.
    – alphabet
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 1:52
  • @alphabet thank you so much! You rock! <3 <3 <3
    – Mira
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 2:55

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